Chocolate Time In Isolation

Since my daughter has been old enough to run around the house, every Easter we’ve hidden chocolate eggs for her to find.  When she was young, her excitement could not be measured on any excitement meter, but over the years it’s become less and less as one might expect.  Still, she’s always liked the idea, at least in part to relive her younger years.

Like everyone else, we’re COVID bound and she mentioned that this year she wouldn’t get to look for eggs.  She’s 25 so the proper parental response would be “Come on, you’re in law school for goodness sake,” but that’s not how we roll.  We had lots of Easter chocolate because my wife loves to treat our daughter as though she’s still her little baby and, more importantly, she loves chocolate too.

The moral of this story is that in spite of our isolation, we’re awash with chocolate.  I’m a Peeps kind of guy myself but when I saw the chocolate chicken I just had to sketch it.  It was a lot of fun.  The head’s already gone and I’ll let them consume it while I eat some Peeps.

Handbook watercolor (8×8), DeAtramentis Document Black

 

Keeping It Loose??

I’ve always wondered why amateur artists are so enamoured with “loose.”  Everyone craves it, nobody can define it, and there are many great artists who would be wondering with me if they were here now.  I doubt whether DaVinci, Michaelangelo, Sargent or modern artists like Norman Rockwell or Robert Bateman would have told their students to “loosen up.”

But there I was the other day, trying to “loosen up” by drawing cups quickly.  I did half a dozen of them, some “loose” to the point that they ceased to look like a cup.  Here’s one example.

4×6 sketchbook, DeAtramentis ink

It’s what a lot of people call loose.  I call it sloppy but, well, different strokes I guess.  I thought I’d try a different approach, somewhere between this and my typical, very stiff, cartoon style.  I used a larger format, about 5×7 I guess.  And I slowed down some.

Rather than a coffee cup, I chose a tea cup.  Maybe that makes a difference too.  In any case, I like this result better than those “loose” cups.  It suffers a lack of precision I suppose but it looks more like a finished drawing to me.  Opinions welcome.  Just keep them loose.

Snow In April Ain’t So Bad

We had a snow storm for about 24 hours and got, they say, about 15cm of the stuff.  I didn’t think I’d be able to walk today because of it but it seems our ground is sufficiently thawed and most of it has melted already, leaving the sidewalks suitable for walking.  So, I did.

This time I took a clip with me to hold my sketchbook open while I sketched.  That helped some.  Very low expectations helped more.  I think that if I can expect nothing from 2-3 minute sketches (maybe 5 for this one), done while standing, I won’t be disappointed and I’ll have a little fun.  It was only 1C when I was out and windy but I got to stand next to a wind break while I tried to scribble a likeness of this little Fiat.  I think the proportions are right but the shapes most certainly are not.  Oh well…it’s a generic car sketch 🙂

Platinum Plaisir, 4×6 hardcover sketchbook of unknown origin

Road Trip To Montreal – Part Two

I met Marc Taro Holmes on day two of my Montreal trip at the Pointe a Calliere.  This is primarily and archeology museum, built on top of a large excavation of early Montreal habitations.  We were there to sketch in a natural history exhibition that’s going on now.

I admit that I was tired from the day before.  Now that I’m officially old I don’t hold up like I used to but I was excited to sketch some animals. We wandered around, looked at everything and then I started drawing this spoonbill.  It was a magnificent specimen.  I tried the ‘draw fast’ approach and that cost me some accuracy but I was pleased by the result.

Stillman & Birn Beta (8×10), DeAtramentis Document Black

I was getting tired and Marc graciously agreed to walking across the street so I could sit, drink some coffee and have a muffin.  That was fun and I needed it, but eventually we headed back to capture some more of the museum.

I decided to press the ‘draw fast’ method even more and tried to capture a bunch of birds on one page.  I felt I’d went too small and I certainly drew too fast, but I had fun doing these quick captures.  Maybe this will help me sketch pigeons on the street this summer.

Stillman & Birn Beta (8×10), DeAtramentis Document Black

Unfortunately I was running out of gas and just couldn’t bring myself to start another sketch.  I decided at that point that I was done for the day and so I said goodbye to Marc and headed off to meet my daughter.  I’m not sure that ‘draw fast’ is for me.  Maybe I’m destined to forever be a slow sketcher.

Road Trip To Montreal – Part One

The last time I left home on a sketching trip was in 2017 when I went to meet Marc Taro Holmes and Liz Steel for the best sketching day of my life.  Since then health issues hobbled me (quite literally) for nearly two years, part of which I couldn’t hold a pencil, let alone draw with one.

So, it was no small thing for me to head to the bus depot and head down the road, thanks to my rheumatologist.  I was going to Montreal to see my daughter but also to meet up with Marc for a couple sketching sessions.  There would be lots of chatting involved as well since we hadn’t seen each other for so long.

The bus was to depart at 5AM so, a bit bleary-eyed I sat at the bus station at 4:45.  What’s a guy to do but draw.  I did a couple quick sketches before they started loading the bus.  Here they are.

I’m a look-y-lu when I travel and don’t have to drive.  I can’t wait to see the sights as we whiz along the highway.  Once the sun started to come up I saw turkeys, deer, a couple ravens, some ducks and a lot of landscape and architecture.

When I arrived in Montreal the first thing I had to do was coax my bum leg to climb a significant hill to get to my daughter’s apartment, and I did, albeit slowly.  The two of us had breakfast and then parted as I headed to meet Marc.  After a bit of a snafu (sp?) about which Starbucks we were going to meet in, we used the magic of our cell phones to find each other.

The day was amazing for the beginning of March in Quebec.  It wasn’t bitterly cold.  In fact, it was sunny and about 2C and for crazy sketchers, that’s sketching weather… almost.  Marc and I decided to draw the top of a large cathedral that’s downtown.  There’s a park right next to it, too close to draw the cathedral from, but we decided to find a bench and draw.  We found benches but they were covered in snow so we sat on the backs of a bench and drew.

This turned out to be an experiment on more than a leg-testing level.  Marc is always suggesting that I draw too slow.  It’s hard to argue because molasses runs downhill faster than I draw.  My problem is that if I start drawing fast I lose control of the proportions, leave important stuff out, etc.  Still, I was determined to try and, truth be told, I had to do this to keep up with Marc, who does magnificent drawings in mere minutes.

And so I drew two of the domes quickly, trying my best not to distort them too much.  It suited the winter weather conditions to sketch quickly.

With that sketch done, we started looking for something else to draw.  This was hard because of all the snow and the need to sit in the sun.  It was also starting to get breezy so we decided to go into the cathedral.  I made several quick sketches but when a church service started both Marc and I felt like interlopers and so we decided to leave.  Here’s one of my sketches.

Strathmore Mixed-Media (184lb), DeAtramentis Brown ink

Marc directed us to an observation area in, I think, the Bonaventure Hotel where we looked out over the city and the same cathedral we drew earlier.  Maintaining my frantic (for me) sketching pace, I quickly sketched a lot of the roof tops of the cathedral.  Something of a strange view but one, I’m sure, is familiar to the resident pigeon population.

Strathmore Mixed-Media (184lb), DeAtramentis Brown ink

I never did complete it because I also wanted to draw another church nearby.   We both were getting hungry so we headed for a nearby food court and spent the afternoon talking art and solving the world’s problems.  With the world’s problems solved, we headed to Marc’s house where I spent a spectacular evening with Marc and Laurel.  In spite of a lot of walking my leg held up pretty well.  Some limping did occur but it was not extreme.

This post has gotten pretty long so I’m going to stop here.  I’ll show you what I did on day two in the next post.  As Tigger says, Ta, Ta, For Now.